You may be rather pleased that a relative trusted you with the responsibility of managing their estate, but the family is driving you mad. They expect you to know everything when it is the first time you have done this. You also suspect they will hold it against you if they do not get what they were hoping. Here are some tips to remember when administering an estate.
- Do the job: However busy you might be with your job and other responsibilities, this is a role you’ve been chosen to fulfill. The sooner you start doing the job, the sooner you can finish.
- Keep everyone informed: Open and honest communication with everyone is best. It can avoid frustration and suspicion among family members and other heirs and beneficiaries. Those standing to benefit from your loved one’s estate may never have done this before, so they may not understand how things like estate administration and probate work or why things are taking so long.
- Stay impartial: It is not up to you to decide how assets are distributed. Your role is to execute the estate as specified in the will.
- Be worthy of your role: Yes, you could probably sneak out that unpublished manuscript or a box of Cuban cigars, but remember that you have a fiduciary duty to follow the wishes of the person who is deceased. You could be taken to court if you betray that trust.
You do not need to do this alone. An estate planning attorney can guide you and help you avoid errors that could land you in court.